Desperate to squeeze money from its mobile users, Facebook is trialling mobile-app advertising, auctioning news-feed slots to the mobile developer who bids highest.
The adverts for the devs' creations will appear in news feeds of mobile users and link directly to the relative app stores, iTunes or Google Play. Facebook reckons that it already sends 146 million people in that direction every month – via the news feeds of users 'Friends' as well as by way of the social network's App Center, so Zuck's firm might as well try to make some money from the process.
Mobile developers are being invited to register for the beta, which will allow them to bid something in the region of half a dollar per click. It will also let them specify their daily budget – along with the gender and even the region (creepily sourced from those who have location services switched on in their mobes) of those to whom they wish to advertise. Read more...
Users of Apple's iTunes and other cloud services reported a number of hiccups in normal service this morning, a day after an iCloud account hack on hapless WiReD journo Matt Honan made headlines.
Honan's account was accessed by hacker Phobia – who pried it open by going from call centre operator to call centre operator, starting out at Amazon customer support – and then wiped his devices via iCloud after loose-lipped.
Users reported being unable to download apps or songs from iTunes for up to six hours, and others trying to change their passwords or account details were unable to do so. Apple had told users it was reviewing its processes for password resets in the wake of the hack, and tech sites including that of the hapless hacked hack – WiReD – were reporting that all password changes for any iCloud service were being frozen, though tight-lipped Apple naturally didn't comment. Read more...
The Internet Archive, a non-profit online library dedicated to the permanent preservation of information in digital form, has made nearly a petabyte of materials available via the controversial BitTorrent peer-to-peer file sharing protocol.
For the project's launch on Tuesday, founder Brewster Kahle announced that the Internet Archive was hosting more than a million torrents, the small files that point to data accessible by BitTorrent clients. The collection has grown since then, and now comprises nearly 1.5 million torrents.
The majority of those torrents – more than one million – point to digitized books, while the others point to audio and video files. Read more...
Samsung is considering buying Research in Motion or licensing RIM's BlackBerry 10 operating system, Jefferies analyst Peter Misek wrote in a note to investors this week.
"Among other options, we believe Samsung is considering ramping up its internal OS development efforts, licensing BB10 or buying RIM," Misek wrote. "We think any acquisition is unlikely until after BB10 launches." That launch is set for January 2013.
Misek's comment sparked news reports and comments from other analysts, including some who don't think Samsung will benefit much from a RIM acquisition.
"I think a Samsung acquisition of RIM is unlikely because the restructuring would be more complicated than Samsung's just sticking with what they have and pulling business away from RIM," said Ken Dulaney, an analyst at Gartner who has followed RIM for decades. Read more...
While the Mars Curiosity rover is the most complex machine NASA has ever sent to another planet, the computer that runs it is no more powerful than the one in your smartphone.
The robotic rover, which landed in the Gale Crater on Mars early Monday morning, now is being put through a series of tests to make sure all of its systems are functioning properly after its more than 350-million-mile journey from Earth. It may be several weeks before the SUV-sized robotic rover is ready to begin its trek across the Martian surface.
Curiosity is on what scientists hope will be a two-year mission to find out if the planet has or ever has had what it takes to support life, even in a microbial form. The rover also will look for signs that humans could one day live on Mars.
While Curiosity is on a major scientific mission, the rover itself is something of an engineering marvel, too, according to the men and women who built it. Read more...
Wonder what it's like to have malicious hackers get into every corner of your digital life -- not only your Twitter account, broadcasting embarrassing tweets in your name, but also seizing control of your Apple account and remote wiping your laptop, tablet and phone? Tech journalist Mat Honan outlined in chilling detail how his digital life was hijacked, from racist tweets being sent from his account to losing 18 months of photos he hadn't backed up.
What's especially scary is that the attack didn't require any virus or other devious software; it was all social engineering. Honan managed to make contact with one of the attackers; and in return for not pressing charges, found out how it was done:
1) Hackers scouted out his Twitter account -- they liked the short 3-letter handle -- which linked to Honan's personal Web site. There, they found his Gmail address.
2) Hacker guessed that the Gmail address was also linked to his Twitter account.
3) Hacker went to Google "lost my password" page, entered Honan's email address and saw a partially obscured alternate email address: m••••email@example.com. Read more...
In the wake of a multi-faceted hack of a technology reporter that ended with his smartphone, tablet and notebook wiped of all data, Google's spam chief yesterday urged users to set two-factor authentication on their log-ins.
"I ... advise everyone to turn on Google's two-factor authentication to make your Gmail account safer and less likely to get hacked," said Matt Cutts, the head of Google's Web spam team, in a post to his personal blog Tuesday.
Cutts was reacting to the well-publicized hack of Wired reporter Mat Honan last week. The hackers found an alternate email address by scouting Gmail, used that address -- an Apple-issued one that ended in me.com -- and along with a valid billing address and the last four digits of a credit card, both easily acquired elsewhere, convinced Apple's technical support to give them access to the me.com account. Read more...
Despite the recent bashing in the press from its partners, Microsoft continues to forge ahead with plans to turn a profit by making its own hardware, as evidenced by the current spate of job postings for the Surface tablet team.
Yesterday the Financial Times ran a pair of interviews with Acer chairman and CEO JT Wang and Acer president for personal computer global operations Campbell Kan, both covering Microsoft's intent to launch two Surface tablets in October. As Preston Gralla reports in Computerworld, Wang is quoted as saying, "We have said [to Microsoft] think it over. Think twice. It will create a huge negative impact for the ecosystem and other brands may take a negative reaction. It is not something you are good at so please think twice." Kan is reported as saying, "If Microsoft...is going to do hardware business, what should we do? Should we still rely on Microsoft, or should we find other alternatives?" Read more...
Because some of these achievements are so widespread, they are also easy to overlook. Not anymore. We're giving nine of these unheralded technology innovations their due here. Information comes directly from the people responsible for these advancements.
1. Server-side scripting
It all started with a TV show in Boston. In 1994, Fred DuFresne was working on an interactive website for the local station WCVB-TV. DuFrense created a technique called server-side scripting, which was a stark departure from the common programming techniques of the day. Essentially, it "programs" a server to carry out commands such as showing you a video or a Flash animation.
Before server-side scripting, programmers had to write complex HTML commands. Today, it is used on everything from Facebook pages to foodie blogs. "With SSS, the level of training required to create dynamic pages was drastically reduced. No formal training in computer science was required to create a simple PHP page. There is no linking to object libraries, no compiling source code to object code," DuFresne says. Read more...
Microsoft wanted to "modernize the way the platform is accessed by developers," said Richard Riley, a Microsoft director in the Office division. "We have made some of the most significant changes on the developer side of Office in the last 15 years."
"We saw that people were building a lot of internal and consumer solutions as Web applications because they were easy to deploy. Just set up a server with some HTML pages and everyone could go and get that" app, said Brian Jones, principal group program manager for Microsoft's Office solutions framework team. "That's the model we followed." Read more...